Sunday, June 24, 2012

R-E-A-D A Book!

As a child and teenager, I read voraciously. I could always be spotted with a book in my hand and constantly had scrapes and bruises--not from typical child's play, but for tripping and falling because I would walk around and read without looking up. Even throughout college, I spent my summers immersed in good books. Each summer, I enrolled in our library's reading program, where you got some kind of silly t-shirt that said "I Can Read, Can You?" or "I Read Books. Ask Me What They Are" if you finished 20 books in one summer. I always kept track of my progress, but never cashed in on the XXXL t-shirt that was left when I finally finished the last page of book number 20.

This is me reading as a child. Clearly, I worked for a child modeling agency. 
When I finally started working big-girl jobs and living a big-girl life where you either bring your work home with you each night and weekend or work so tirelessly that you fall asleep before you've made it to page 2 when you sit down to a book, I pretty much gave up reading. I had a bit of a new love for it last summer when I purchased my ipad and wanted to look cool using it--even if lying in my bed alone in my house each night. But lately, I've abandoned my habit once again. Working in outreach, 9 months of our year is completely spoken for with work. We rarely have time to indulge in leisure reading. So far in 2012, I have read one single, solitary book. (Room, by the way, and it was awesome--Joel and I read it together on the plane ride home from Costa Rica.) In the last few weeks, several books have caught my eye, and I am anxious to start not one, but all of them. Since summer is much less busy for my career, I am going to make it a goal to finish all five books before October (I still consider September summer time because it's hotter than Hell outside, and I kind of panicked when I typed that lofty goal). Here is why that goal makes me nervous:

*I fall asleep when I read. In the past, that never happened. But it also never happened that I reveled in the idea of spending a Friday night at home in bed.
*I have a strong addiction to magazines. It's hard for me to start a book when one of my 7 magazine subscription installments is constantly teasing me from the mailbox. Now, if I have the time and energy, I can usually finish a magazine, cover-to-cover, in under three hours. But still, I choose those over books because my attention span isn't what it used to be.
*Lately, I'm obsessed with blogs. I am using up all of my free reading time scouring blogs and learning more about how to make mine the most badass one ever.
*I get overzealous with the books I want to read, start all of them at once, and finally blow up in a reading frenzy when I'm getting characters and concepts all mixed up. Then all of my half-read books end up in a dusty pile by my bed until I finally dump them back in the book-box (because I have only lived here for 6 months, not nearly long enough to have my bookshelf set up--sheesh).

My current "bookshelf"
So, here are the books I'm going to read this summer, and I'm putting it on here so I'll stick to the goal, and so that maybe I'll even be able to give you reviews of them upon completion. Please note--even though I know you all memorized the 'about me' section of this blog--I LOVE self-help books. I have a psychology background and an impending, inevitable future of near-craziness, so self-help books are my anti-drug. Deal with it.

1--Are They All Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling. I downloaded this on my ipad when I needed a good laugh and have gotten through a whole 3 chapters. So far, I have laughed out loud a few times and stayed up an hour past when I wanted to continuing to read it. (That's my litmus test for a good book.)

2--The Tools by Phil Stutz and Barry Michels. The subtitle to this book is Transform Your Problems into Courage, Confidence, and Creativity, and that's exactly what I'd love to do. It baulks at modern psychology's inability to help people give up bad habits and anxieties, since today's theoretical framework attempts only to identify your past triggers and work through them. Joel's dad asked for this book for his birthday and asked that we read it as well. We'll all be reading this one together, so I'll put their input on here too.

3--Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by someone famous for writing it. I want to read this one mostly because it's a psychological staple, and I've never read it. I have five brothers, a father, a nephew, an SO, and an array of male friends, so maybe it's about time I realize why they are the way they are.

4--The Passionate Marriage by David Schnarch. This guy is a freaking genius. He also chucks current psychological trends and gives you real tools to help build a strong relationship. I bought the companion CD and have learned so much from it. I have listened to it on repeat while traveling and every time hear something new and exciting that helps me grow. Now, I want to read the book (and because I'm a nerd, probably take notes and talk endlessly about what I'm reading to my friends).

5--A mindless book that I can get a little enjoyment out of. And, no, I don't need or want to read Fifty Shades of Grey. Nothing against the author or people who read and love this book, but those of you who know me understand why I shouldn't read this book. Maybe once the hype dies down, I'll think about it. But probably not. I just want a fun read that I can't put down. One where I'll fall in love with the characters and hold off reading the last chapter because I don't want to say good-bye to them. The three best examples of this are A Thousand Splendid Suns, Summer Sisters, and The Last Time They Met. I want a book that I feel as connected to as these books. And that I'll read over and over, as I have these. So if you have suggestions, I'll take them.

I have my challenge and my task, so maybe this will push me to finish these books. I have a duty to report back to you how awesome these books are or how much they made me think. So, I'll get right on that for you...if I can put down my July copy of Women's Health...

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